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Abortion becomes union business

A labor professor at Rutgers University has suggested union officials should be allowed to use union release time to help employees who want to get an abortion.

Typically, union release time is paid time-off used by employees who are conducting official union business. But according to In These Times, a pro-union magazine, Professor Rebecca Givan thinks union officials should be able to use release time to help union members get an abortion, by using the time off to provide assistance like childcare or transportation.

In years past, union officials have not always wanted to wade into the abortion debate, seeing it as a culture war issue that could alienate union members. But this year, many union officials have spoken out in favor of abortion rights and on how to use collective bargaining to increase employee access to abortion.

Suzanne Bates

Suzanne Bates is Senior Writer and Researcher with Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector workers offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining Americans for Fair Treatment in 2020, Suzanne worked as a journalist for the Associated Press, as Policy Director with the Yankee Institute, as a contributor for The Hartford Courant, and as a regular commentator for WNPR’s The Wheelhouse.